John Gillon

???? - 14th Dec 1809


Slave-owner in Dominica, owner of the Wallhouse or Wall House estate (named after Wallhouse in Linlithgowshire), leaving £125,000 on his death in London c. 1809. Rubinstein gives the date of birth as c. 1750 and the parents as Alexander Gillon of Wallhouse and Eleonora Montgomery but this is not consistent with the Scottish parish registers which have the children of Alexander Gillon of Walhouse and Eleonora Montgomery baptised in Torphichen between 1703 and 1718: it appears more likely that John Gillon was a grandson of Alexander Gillon of Wallhouse and Eleonora Montgomery.

  1. John Gillon was one of the "original purchasers" of land in Dominica from the Commissioners for the Sale of Lands in the Ceded Islands in 1763. He owned six plots of land equalling about 83 acres as the sole owner. He also jointly owned two other plots of land which totalled 129 acres. By 1775, the 112 acre plot he had jointly owned with Benjamin Kirby was owned by [no first name give] Puisseno.

  2. Death in December 1809, "at his house in Welbeck Street, after a lingering illness, John Gillon, Esquire, formerly of the Island of Dominica." Will of John Gillon formerly of the island of Dominica West Indies and now of Welbeck Street Marylebone [made 18/07/1809] proved 20/01/1810. He left his property in trust to Abraham Robarts, Abraham Wildey Robarts, James Laing of Streatham Hill and Dominica and Robert Reid of Dominica to be realised to support his bequests, with specific instructions that unless peace should 'be sooner made between this country and France' they should not sell the Wall House estate for at least 10 years after his death, and that when they did at least one-third of the price should be in sterling up-front. He left annuities of £500 p.a. to his cousin Colonel Andrew Gillon and £250 p.a. to Colonel Gillon's son William Downe Gillon, the latter to increase to £300 p.a. if William Downe Gillon became a student at Oxford with his father's consent, and to increase further to £500 p.a. on William Downe Gillon reaching 21 or marrying before that age. John Gillon's estate as a whole was settled on Andrew Gillon and William Downe Gillon, with remainder as to one moiety of John Wardrobe of Dominica and one moiety to John Samuel Baron, son of Mademoiselle [sic] Charlotte Baron of Dominica and now a student at the Rev. Joseph Benson's in Hounslow. He left John Samuel Baron an annuity of £250 p.a. during his education to be replaced by a living in England to be purchased for up to £5000 and yielding at least £400 p.a. He left his cousins Catherine and Elizabeth Gillon annuities of £50 p.a. each, and £100 p.a. to a god-daughter Helen Hotchkins [sp?].

  3. William Downe Gillon (q.v.) was MP for Linlithgow Burghs 1831-1832 and for Falkirk Burghs 1832-1841. His entry in the History of Parliament says: '[Andrew Gillon's] first cousin, John Gillon of Dominica and Welbeck Street, Marylebone died in December 1809, leaving by his will of 18 July life annuities of £500 each to Andrew and William Downe Gillon and residual personal estate which he directed to be used for the purchase of landed property for the latter. Accordingly, the Sussex estate of Hurstmonceaux [sic], near Hailsham was bought for him in 1819.'

  4. John Gillon was a friend of Hester Lynch Piozzi and corresponded with her.


W.D. Rubinstein, Who were the rich? Vol. I, 1809-1839 (2009) p. 39, reference 1810/4.

  1. Plan of the Island of Dominica, as surveyed from the year 1765 to 1773. By John Byres. British Library reference 10470.c.21. 2 Lennox Honychurch (n.d.) 'Wallhouse', A to Z of Dominica. (sourced 28 July 2015)

  2. Oxford Journal 23/12/1809 (the notice in the Kentish Gazette 22/12/1809 gives his death as 14/12/1809); PROB 11/1507/277.

  3. David R. Fisher, 'Gillon, William Downe', [accessed 30/12/2014].

  4. Hester Lynch Piozzi et al. (2002) The Piozzi Letters: correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (formerly Mrs. Thrale), University of Delaware Press. Thanks to Elizabeth Morton for identifying this source.

Further Information

Catherina Agnew
Wealth at death

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
- 1809 [EY] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Physical (1)

Country house
Herstmonceux Castle [Purchased] 
notes →
Bought in 1819 by the trustees of John Gillon for William Downe Gillon MP, who sold it shortly before his death in 1846. There is confusion in many sources about the ownership, which is attributed to...

Relationships (5)

Other relatives
Notes →
The two men were first cousins once...
Testator → Legatee
Notes →
John Wardrobe was the contingent co-residuary heir of John Gillon. John Wardrobe was the brother of John Gillon's niece-by-marriage Christian or Christiana Dickson nee...
Other relatives
Notes →
The family connection between David Dickson senior 's mother Anne or Ann Gillon and John Gillon has not yet been bottomed out by LBS. Both are connected in secondary sources with the Gillon family of...
Father → Natural Son
Notes →
This is an inferred relationship. John Samuel Baron was a beneficiary under the will of John Gillon, but was not identified there as his natural...
Executor → Testator

Addresses (1)

Welbeck Street, Marylebone, London, Middlesex, London, England